Twitter and Usenet and the Comics Curmudgeon seem to get all my input these days. Even other blogs are mostly getting shorted from that fine Kip W/Muffaroo stuff.
First I was all busy with the play, which went swimmingly. We had a strong Captain, a tireless and very professional Maria (who has apparently been on Broadway in some capacity), and an imposing Mother Superior with a thrilling, theater-filling voice (she has sung with the Boston Symphony), plus two rather fine sets of Trapp children, who impressed me early on by being off book before anybody else. I wondered why, if we can get such great kid actors here in Pittsford, they can't do it in Hollywood. Thankfully, the production left in the three songs that are usually cut for the movie; the two Max/Elsa numbers ("How Can Love Survive," and my favorite, "No Way to Stop It"), which are the wittiest part of the score, and "An Ordinary Couple," which strikes me as the most mature and moving. It was a long show, full of costume changes. Maria and the kids spent most of their time not on stage getting out of one set of garments and into another. Our Max had one change that was uncomfortably quick for him, so I helped him with that each night. I was already done with my part by then anyway, but stayed in costume for the curtain call. For the curtain call, I modified a bit that Eric Strong used in The Mikado at CNU for his curtain call: he scowled at the audience as the stern (but mercenary) Pooh-Bah and held a fan in front of his face. When the fan came down, he was Eric, smiling broadly. I did it with my bow; the moment of unmasking. Our players now are done. I hope you liked me. A couple of people said they did, which made me feel pretty good.
The next crunch was, and is, school. Much cramming has been required for the quizzes in 20th-century art history, because it amounts to writing three or four papers in class, on pictures that must be recognized and ID'ed. Longhand, of course, so cramping is also involved. The 20th century involves at least ten art movements per decade, so the hardest part of all of it was remembering the isms and their dates. There was some small consolation in the end dates, which meant that each of these movements is, in some way, over. Take that, you bastards! You're HISTORY. There's still the final to go. It would be nice if the teacher would post the slides some time soon so I could be studying them, and not just the written notes.
Autumn leaves have been a challenge. I put in some eight hours of raking and blowing in brief intervals between studying and the show. The stretches and exercises, which take between one and three hours daily (depending on the day of the week) seem to be doing their job. When my back went out after a three-hour leaf orgy, it was only out for a couple of minutes, and I made it to rehearsal with no further incidents. The muscles that support my sacroiliac are helping pick up some of the slack now. (Our Captain von Trapp's back went out the week before performance, so he couldn't pick up Gretel and carry her iconically up the aisle at show's end, but they made it work anyway.)
Thanksgiving went better and more smoothly than anyone could reasonably expect. Some of the best turkey I can remember in years — when I went to harvest the carcass for leftovers, the meat was so tender all I had to do was compliment it, and it jumped off the bones and into the waiting bowls. I had at least two good leftover meals of dark meat with dressing and gravy, and Sarah had a healthy snack of the dark meat. Cathy ate some of the white meat as well. Next year, I should probably put at least one of the containers of white meat into the freezer for medium-term storage.
Cathy spent much of last week in New Jersey, helping her mom, who had had a fall. By the time she got there, the initial emergency and hospital stay were over, and Delores was no longer groggy from meds. She mostly took her places (water aerobics, hair appointment), shopped (getting Sarah's Christmas presents in line as she did so), and watched TV with her. Sarah and I had FaceTime chats with them to keep in touch. I managed to get all the leftovers out of the fridge for hazardous waste pickup before she got back, and even cleared some liquid dregs from the downstairs fridge, which is mostly used for beverages and frozen desserts.
We'll be going to NJ for Christmas. I'll be 56 in a couple of weeks. Dad's health seems to be good (no more strokes), though his hearing is as much a problem as ever. The latest is that his body chemistry causes the tiny tubes of his hearing aids to contract and constrict, making frequent replacement necessary. Kathryn (my oldest sister, with whom he lives) says that he can be hearing okay in the audiologist's office, and be back to subnormal by the time they get to the car. I expect to see them in April, when Sarah and I will drive up for her (and my) spring vacation. We'll drive to Colorado in summer. I'm starting to enjoy driving vacations again, and Sarah has strategies to put up with them (iPod, games, movies, slumber), and we seem to get on pretty well when we're on trips or when we're batchin' it without Cathy. Father-daughter time, especially when there's a hotel pool for a warm dip. We're staying at a Holiday Inn for the NJ trip, so we'll doubtless be immersing a couple of times then.
That's mostly it. It's been a pretty poor year for paid work for me, which has made it a little easier to do a show and go to school. Last year was about the best year I've had for freelance, which makes this year more of a letdown. I've finally heard from a client who engaged me for a cover job back in August, who finally sent me all the files and a short deadline, plus the prospect of three more books, for which I'd do the whole job and not just the covers. Another previous client has dangled the prospect of another book as well, so the future looks a little better than the immediate past.
Do I have time and inclination here to wrap up this huge (and largely unread) post with an inane and faux-profound closing statement? Time will tell, readers. Time will tell.